A Fashion Historian Quietly Amassed One of the World’s Greatest Collections of Couture—and Now It’s on View at the Met

Sandy Schreier fell in love with fashion as a child in Michigan.

Gallery view,
Gallery view, "In Pursuit of Fashion." © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has opened its latest Costume Institute exhibition, giving viewers a glimpse into one of the greatest collections in fashion history, gifted to the museum by historian and collector Sandy Schreier.

The exhibition features 80 pieces of a promised gift of 165 items, including designs by Pierre Balmain, Gabrielle Chanel, Patrick Kelly, Roberto Rojas, and Elsa Schiaparelli. The items are pulled from Schreier’s holdings of thousands of objects and garments.

“My passion for fashion as an art form drove me to search for the most innovative, creative, and breathtaking objects by well-known and lesser-known talents,” Schreier, who found her love for clothing as a child in Michigan, said in a statement accompanying the show’s announcement.

Sandy Schreier at her home in Southfield, Michigan, in 1998. © Susan Tusa /Detroit Free Press via ZUMA Wire.

The exhibition highlights Schreier’s immense holdings of French couture, American ready-to-wear clothing, and items by early 20th-century Italian designers.

Organized by Andrew Bolton, it is divided into three sections that trace the arc of her collecting career, emphasizing various design achievements that coincided with changes in pop culture.

See highlights from the show below, arranged according to gallery.

In Pursuit of Fashion: The Sandy Schreier Collection” is on view at the Met Fifth Avenue from November 27, 2019, to May 17, 2020.

 

“In Pursuit of Beauty: Origins of a Collection”

Gallery view, "In Pursuit of Beauty: Origins of a Collection" © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “In Pursuit of Beauty: Origins of a Collection.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Crisobal Balenciaga, Evening Dress (Summer 1961). Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo: Nicholas Alan Cope.

 

“The Past Recaptured: Fortuny and Gallenga”

Gallery view, "The Past Recaptured: Fortuny and Gallenga" © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “The Past Recaptured: Fortuny and Gallenga.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, "The Past Recaptured: Fortuny and Gallenga" © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “The Past Recaptured: Fortuny and Gallenga.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, "The Message Is the Medium: Fashion that Speaks" © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “The Past Recaptured: Fortuny and Gallenga.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

“L’Espirit Nouveau: The Interwar Era”

Gallery view, "L'Esprit Nouveau: The Interwar Era" © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “L’Esprit Nouveau: The Interwar Era.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, "L'Esprit Nouveau: The Interwar Era" © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “L’Esprit Nouveau: The Interwar Era.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “L’Esprit Nouveau: The Interwar Era.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “L’Esprit Nouveau: The Interwar Era.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 

“The Message Is the Medium: Fashion That Speaks”

Gallery view, "The Message Is the Medium: Fashion that Speaks" © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “The Message Is the Medium: Fashion that Speaks.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Christian Francis Roth, Breakfast Suit (Spring/summer 1990). Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo: Nicholas Alan Cope.

Gallery view, "The Message Is the Medium: Fashion that Speaks" © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gallery view, “The Message Is the Medium: Fashion that Speaks.” © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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